How to Learn to Speak Afrikaans

Опубликовал Admin
25-09-2016, 06:30
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We would like people to speak the most beautiful language in the world - Afrikaans. It is a language that changes all the time and continuously evolves. You may have trouble speaking it the first time you try, but practice makes perfect!


  1. Be aware that Afrikaans is the language of many people in South Africa, Namibia and expats in Anglophonic countries. Afrikaans is a young Germanic language which has a much simpler grammar than English and Dutch. It is not only spoken by (77% of all) coloured and (58% of all) white people in South Africa, but also 11 different cultural groups speak Afrikaans as a home, second or third language. Today, the Flemish, Dutch, Germans, Anglophonic peoples, Swedes and even Polish and Russians are rather keen to get in touch with what is known as the simplest Germanic language in the world.
  2. Use to good effect. Because Afrikaans sounds quite guttural, it is also the perfect language to swear in! Lots of South Africans use it for this purpose only! Which is kind of sad, but it is certainly a very expressive language in other words. However, if the user are interested in learning Dutch, Afrikaans makes an excellent basic stepping stone.
  3. Don't let people tell you that we greet with the following phrase : "Goeiemôre." Which means "good morning". Nobody says that anymore. It is old-fashioned. When we greet someone we just say "Hallo" or "Hi" or something similar like "môre" which means "morning". Afrikaans has been influenced a lot by English.
  4. Ask someone how he is: Hoe gaan dit? The "Hoe" is pronounced like "who" in English and means "how". The 'g' sound in the beginning of "gaan" is made in the back of the throat. That is the hardest sound in Afrikaans. In order to pronounce this letter, make like a car that suddenly hits the brakes on a gravel road. A scratchy sound, like if you've got something stuck in your throat and want to get it out. after you think you've got it try the whole word: "gaan". The 'aan' part is pronounced like "on" in English. "gaan" means "goes" and can be used in all tenses which will often require a prefix or suffix. Finally the word "dit" which means "it" in English. "dit" is pronounced like the first syllable in the urban word "ditto" so it's "dit"//"to" but only the first part. Also the 'i' is pronounced "uh". Finally say the three words in sequence: Hoe Gaan Dit? Which if directly translated into english would basically mean "How Goes It?" there you have it.
  5. Invest in a proper dictionary. The thicker the volume, the better. English-Afrikaans, Nederlands-Afrikaans (better known as ANNA) and Deutsch-Afrikaans bilingual dictionaries are already available. Trilingual dictionaries for African languages-Afrikaans are also available, though not very extensive.
  6. See if you can get a pronunciation and idiomatic expression dictionary, or a bilingual dictionary that has idiomatic expressions in it. It is important to know idiomatic expressions, otherwise you won’t grasp the humor. Luckily though, if you know Dutch, or know a few Dutch expressions, most idiomatic expressions will be comprehensible. Also, especially nowadays, people directly translate English proverbs.
  7. Get familiar with the tone of voice. You should listen to Afrikaans more often. To give you some idea how an Afrikaans accent sounds like, visit on the Afrikaans Wikipedia, click on the speaker and read along [it's the voice of a 16-year-old male]. In this way, you can read and listen to the article simultaneously. As you would listen to Radio Nederland Wereldomroep just to get familiar with the Algemeenbeschaafde Dutch accent – use Radio Sonder Grense (RSG) [1] for Afrikaans. At the homepage, place the cursor on Luister, and then Luister Weer. Click Luister Weer. You may select any program that you think you will like (e.g. Die tale wat ons praat), ignore Sleutelwoord and Datums; click on [SOEK] and click LAAI AF at any particular day’s topic you want. After the sound file has been downloaded, you may listen for ± half an hour, at your own leisure, how Afrikaans words are pronounced. Afrikaans is a fast language, which is why you should be able to replay the podcast.
  8. Have some humour. The Afrikaans community is fueled by humor. Most of it are puns (using Afrikaans idiomatic expressions and words), irony, rhyme, similes, metaphors, exaggerations, understatements and innuendos. If the Afrikaans speaking people start giggling or laughing when you speak Afrikaans, don’t take it personally or seriously at all – if you are a male, your voice tone might sound rather feminine (many don’t articulate deep and raspy enough from the throat, but speak softly from the front of their mouths) or very awkward. If you are female, you probably used the wrong expressions. You’ll get the hang of it. Just keep on practicing.
  9. Don’t be reserved, show emotion while talking. South Africa and Namibia are sunny countries. Biometeorology and psychology has the theory that the amount of sun exposure has an influence on human behaviour. In parallel with other sunny Mediterranean South European and South American peoples, Afrikaans speaking people are much, much less reserved and much more talkative, emotional and interactive than Northern Europeans. If they are happy, shocked, sad, frustrated, passionate or overjoyed, the facial expression, voice tone, body language and hand gestures tells it all. To show emotion is not a weakness, it shows you are human – and is therefore a virtue. They’re not living in the science-fiction film, Equilibrium.
  10. Defenestrate Gender and Age Egalitarianism Immediately! When it comes to gender, Afrikaans and the Afrikaans culture (like most other African cultures) has always been patriarchal. Some argue that the Afrikaans culture is fundamentally based on religion, while others argue that the lack of First World infrastructure and education cannot sustain acculturation to First World countries; which also includes social equality. Men have their traditional gender roles, and so do women. Respect it. In modern South Africa, there are but a few Afrikaans speaking feminists who want to change the image of Afrikaans culture, though most Afrikaans speaking women (especially those inside a marriage) complain: Vandag se mans is regtig pap! Waarom moet ’n vrou altyd die broek in die huis dra? (Today’s men are utterly sloppy and pathetic! Why should a woman always wear the trousers at home? [Meaning, why should women fulfill traditional male gender roles at home?].) Keep this in mind when speaking. Afrikaans doesn’t have any gender for a neutral object, such as a table, ship or car; just like English. Die/ dit [the/it] is used: Die motor wil nie vat nie. Dit werk nie. [The car won’t start. It doesn’t work]. However, if a gender must be added towards, say, a ship, car or table, it is always masculine. Jy moet die tafel vernis / motor was / skip laat nasien, hy lyk verwaarloos. (You must varnish the table / wash the car / service the ship, he looks dilapidated.) Any animal of which the sex is unknown, is always masculine; an animal is not an “it”. “Daardie hond daar oorkant– het hy hondsdolheid?” [That dog over there – does he have rabies?] Don’t ever call someone on their first name, unless permitted to do so. If a minor calls you oom or tannie [literally meaning uncle and aunt respectively], accept it with gratitude. It is a form of respect. This title is usually given to someone who is 10 years older + than they are. In a business environment, the title [Meneer (Mister), Mevrou (Mrs.), Mejuffrou (Miss)] comes first, followed by the surname. If you don’t know a woman’s marital status, just use dame [Dah-meh] (Madam). The register is formal at the first meeting, but may become more informal as the business partners build a better working relationship. Important – Don’t use jy en jou (informal you) to someone much older than you are. It is very disrespectful and the person will most likely take it as an offensive gesture, for the two of you are not from the same age group(Note1). In this case, try not to use any pronouns at all, or use u (formal you). (Note1) In Europe and other First World Continents, there are less youth than elderly people. Therefore age egalitarianism is being utilized (as the youth are the odd ones out). In South Africa and other Third World Countries, there are less elderly people than youth. Therefore, the hierarchal pyramid persists (as the elderly people are the odd ones out).
  11. Pay a visit to South Africa (Western Cape rural area, the Northern Cape), Southern Namibia or any Afrikaans speaking expatriate near you.
  12. The best way of studying the language is direct face-to-face conversations. In this way, you will also get in contact with the different Afrikaans dialects.
  13. Get rid of translated Graeco-latinized English words…
  14. Really, not only does it sound plasticky artificial, pseudo-intellectual and pompous but it also says a lot about your limited vocabulary and incompetence using a dictionary. Latinized words also sound long (having too much syllables) and dreary. Rather use short Germanic words and short sentences instead. Words that the typical man on the street will understand. For example, don’t use offisieel (official) instead of amptelik, like in Afrikaans is ’n amptelike taal van Suid-Afrika. (Afrikaans is an official language of South Africa). For a list for some of these words, go to: . Difficult for the English and Romance language speaker? Sure do. But wait, there’s another way out…
  15. …rather use English words in between, instead. What?! Yes! After all, you’re probably not going to be a news reader or television personality. Perhaps an Afrikaans rock star... Afrikaans people use English words to lubricate a sentence (make it speak more fluently and faster), or if an Afrikaans equivalent term doesn’t pop up that quickly. There is a difference between formal office/document language and the informal conversation language (diglossia). So, feel free. Most Afrikaans speakers will notice you are not familiar with their language and won’t bite your head off. There are only a few cases of purists-extremists; but they are only one in every ten thousand.
  16. Continue communicating in Afrikaans. If the Afrikaans speakers notice that you are struggling with Afrikaans, they will automatically switch to English (or maybe an African language you might know) – they are only trying to accommodate you. But you have to put your foot down and demand Afrikaans. Otherwise, you’ll never learn through trial and error. They’ll gladly help you.
  17. Listen to Afrikaans music. A large number of lyrics of popular songs are available on the Net and some of the contemporary artists’ music videos are played on YouTube. On the sites you can also search for Kurt Darren, Snotkop, Steve Hofmeyr, Juanita du Plessis, Nicholis Louw, Sorina Erasmus, Chrizaan, Bobby van Jaarsveld, Chris Chameleon, Ray Dylan, Bok van Blerk, Emo Adams, Arno Jordaan, Gerhard Steyn and Robbie Wessels, Jay, Eden etc. Some of the other modern individuals and groups are Jack Parow, Fokofpolisiekar, Die Antwoord, Die Heuwels Fantasties, Glaskas, Die Tuindwergies etc. Since the early 2000s it seems as though everyone has literally jumped on the bandwagon. Every week a new Afrikaans artist arrives on the scene; and the Afrikaans music industry caters for almost every genre, but most prominently the rock genre. The reason for this fertile ground is because Internet piracy of Afrikaans music is particularly very low, and, therefore, gives the artists the chance of making money.
  18. Read some Afrikaans literature. Before television in 1976, the World Wide Web in 1995, MXit in 2005 (a cellular phone chat application) and especially Facebook, people either went to the theatres, cinemas (alias bioskoop) participate in sports or read books. There was a boom of books especially from the 1950s – 1970s, but interest declined onwards as time progressed. The best sellers today are recipe books and Christian literature, followed by romantic fiction, detective stories, autobiographies and poetry. Schools are the major stimulators of the children’s literature book market, mainly because prescribed books for the curriculum are being purchased. Because it is rather pricey (and risky) today being an author in Afrikaans, most aspirant authors test their skills on Have a look over there.
  19. Read some Afrikaans newspapers.; Die (for Cape Provinces); (for Free State) and (covers the earlier Transvaal) has all the latest South African and international news in Afrikaans. has all the latest Namibian and international news in Afrikaans. Though it should be added that newspapers tend to be bugged by language errors, clichés, jargon and Anglicism, it’s a good way of picking up neologisms and to get in closer contact with the Afrikaans speaking community.
  20. If you get the chance, watch some Afrikaans films
  21. After a film silence for almost 20 years, the revival of the Afrikaans film industry officially kicked off since 2010. From January 2010 Roepman, Jakhalsdans, Ek lief jou, Ek joke net, Die Ongelooflike Avonture van Hanna Hoekom, Liefling, Getroud met Rugby and Platteland has been released. English subtitles included. Important: Though most of the films’ setting are in rural places (such a cliché!), don't be fooled: the Afrikaans community are well urbanized.
  22. Get to know Afrikaans slang. Get streetwise at:
  23. Relax! Other than the anti-egalitarianism issue, the Afrikaans community is not fastidious about choice of words and are constantly simplifying the rules. Enjoy!


  • Here are 3 words and their pronunciations:
  • Give yourself time. Learning a new language is hard and if you don't give yourself enough time you're going to end up frustrated.
  • The first word is "Liefde" which means "love". You pronounce it like this: the first part is "li", as in "lee", then comes "ef". The "e" comes with "li" but the "f" you pronounce like you pronounce "f". The "de" is easy: just pronounce it like "dugh".
  • "Sakrekenaar" is a long word but not that hard to speak, really. It means "calculator". The first part, "sak," is like "suck". The the second is "re" like "really". just take away the "ally". The third is "ke" like "cool" just take away the "l". The last part is "naar" like "nuur".
  • The next word is very easy. It is "Perd". It means "horse". You take the word "pen" and then take the "n" away and it is "pe". It is the same as the first 2 letters in "perd", then you pronounce the letters "rd" the way you normally would.
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